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A Royal Commission into industry scandals

Docklands impressions - Megan Voelkel

31 Aug 2009

Docklands impressions - Megan Voelkel Image

Visiting US Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar Megan Voelkel recently visited the newly-formed Rotary Club of Docklands.

Members and guests were impressed by Megan’s journey which started in small-town Mississippi from where she went on to study in Birmingham and became editor-in-chief of the university newspaper.

This experience led to an internship on the world-renowned Washington Post newspaper. She came to Australia this year to undertake a post-graduate qualification in international studies at Melbourne University.  She has since signed up to undertake a masters degree.

The Docklands Community News invited Megan to share her impressions of Docklands, which was her home for the first few weeks of her Australian experience. (We know Megan, it’s quite a privilege isn’t it after writing for the Washington Post!)

The Rotary Club of Docklands meets from 6pm (meeting runs from 6.30 until 7.30pm) every Tuesday upstairs at Berth Restaurant, NewQuay.  All welcome.


Megan's impressions:

Fresh off a 15-hour plane ride, I couldn’t pull my jet-lagged eyes away. From a 16th-floor balcony at Yarra’s Edge, I surveyed the city I had been planning for, dreaming about, and now would finally come to know.

A City Circle tram rounded the corner towards Flinders Street Station. A black swan glided close to the marina promenade and its mix of suited professionals and more casual passers-by.

And there, as the backdrop to it all, was the most stunning panorama of skyscrapers, luminescent in the sultry February sun. If first impressions are any indication of what is to come, I thought, I’m in for an absolutely breathtaking year in Melbourne.

Though I would eventually live closer to the university for study, my formative weeks in Docklands are fondly remembered as weeks of newness, of excitement, of possibility.

Webb Bridge was once my gateway to the unfamiliar streets of the CBD. Now I walk under its latticed arches with bittersweet reminiscence, amazed that nearly seven months have passed since I first stepped onto its pathway.

A similar nostalgia accompanies other memories of scenes at the banks of the Yarra – the early-morning hot-air balloons hovering above the city skyline; the sounds of salsa at the Yarra’s Edge Bar & Cafe; the flock of seagulls’ daily flight upriver at dusk; and the brides and grooms taking wedding-day portraits on the dock of the marina, among them.

In many ways, in ways I’m still recognising, Docklands is both distinct and evocative of what I’ve come to adore about Melbourne.

It’s ambitious and creative, evidenced most visibly by its modern sculptures and contemporary architecture. It’s also uniquely historic. While still a young development, the location itself is a constant reminder of the city’s age-old maritime influences.
While there, I found these dynamics of the community, much like the harbour’s constant breeze, to be refreshing and inviting.

I’m thankful for the time I was able to spend in Docklands and for the remarkable journey that began at its doorstep.

While my memories and experiences as a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar have multiplied significantly since my early days in Melbourne, what were once first impressions have become lasting ones.

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  • Shelley B Voelkel at 11:08pm on 06/09/09

    What a beautiful description of your introduction to the "land down under".
  • Mina at 7:24pm on 12/09/09

    I totally agree with you Shel, makes me want to discover Docklands more. Thanks Megs, a truly evocative account of your time there.
  • joni at 5:55am on 24/09/09

    This is such a great resource that you are providing and you give it away for free. I love seeing websites that understand the value of providing a quality resource for free. It’s the old what goes around comes around routine. Did you acquired lots of links and I see lots of trackbacks?
  • Jamie Peters at 12:46pm on 26/09/09

    Your picture is beautiful, and your description of your early days in Melbourne gives the reader a vivid picture of your experience. Good work!

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